Every game in which the Seattle Mariners allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers a hit, they lost – and Sunday it didn’t take long to see which way it was going.
Kyle Seager’s first-inning solo homer put the Mariners up and got a Safeco Field crowd of 34,807 off to a good start.
Then Blake Beavan allowed six second-inning runs to the Dodgers and Los Angeles was off and running toward an 8-2 victory that did nothing for Beavan’s job security.
“We don’t make rash decisions,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Blake has had command issues.”
With two out and a man on base in the second inning, Beavan’s game collapsed – with a little help from a defense that didn’t help.
There was a walk, a little looping single into center field for the tying run, then another bloop single to left in front of Mike Carp, who charged but seemed to pull up at the last moment.
The ball not only dropped for an RBI single, but Carp’s throw to the infield was cut off by third baseman Seager, who attempted to make a diving tag on Tony Gwynn Jr. sliding into third base.
“If I hold on to the ball, he’s out,” Seager said. “It came loose in the collision.”
Two chances on the same play to get out of the inning tied at 1. Neither accomplished.
Beavan walked a man to load ’em up, then left a fastball in Andre Ethier’s hitting zone and Ethier hit it – out, for his fourth career grand slam and a 6-1 lead the Mariners never put a dent in.
“I fell behind, I tried to make the pitches,” Beavan said. “The last two games, I felt like I made a lot of good pitches. Today, if I don’t walk the two guys in the second inning ...
“I’ve got to get ahead and put guys away. I’ve never gone through anything like this, not up here,” he said.
In his 12th start of the season, Beavan’s record dropped to 3-6, his earned-run average climbed to 5.92 and, yes, the Mariners have options. One is in Tacoma – rookie right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
It would not surprise many if, by Tuesday, Seattle makes a roster move.
Not nearly as easy is the matter of the Mariners’ offense – especially at Safeco Field.
After a successful road swing against the Rangers, White Sox and Angels, Seattle came home and managed 17 hits and six runs in three games against the Dodgers.
Asked why the team might be struggling at Safeco, Seager wouldn’t bite.
“We don’t separate the two, home and away, it’s just baseball,” he said. “We faced some pretty good pitching this series, took the first game and then lost the next two.”
That first game, six Seattle pitchers no-hit the Dodgers, and the Mariners won, 1-0.
No matter that the Mariners have played more road games (37) than any other team in the majors.
In the 25 games they have played at home, the offensive numbers are startling.
The highest batting average by any Mariners player at Safeco?
Ichiro Suzuki, who is batting .245.
Next is Dustin Ackley (.220), John Jaso (.211), Seager (.205) and Brendan Ryan (.200).
Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, Michael Saunders, Miguel Olivo, Carp – they’re all under .200 at Safeco Field.
And Munenori Kawasaki? In six games at Safeco Field, he’s 0-for-11.
What’s the cure?
“For one thing, playing more often at home,” Wedge said. “We’ve played more games on the road, we’ve hit well, and it will carry over. We will hit better at home.”
Without a real offense, Seattle is 10-15 at Safeco Field, putting enormous pressure on a pitching staff to hold the opposition to almost nothing.
That’s not realistic.
Beavan, at the moment, cannot hold the opposition at home or on the road.
“Teams have been jumping out on his fastball early in the count,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “When he came to the big leagues, his change-up was his second-best pitch, and when he throws it in fastball counts, he’s effective.
“He’s got to get more consistent with his secondary stuff, and his past couple of starts, his command has been less than it had been.”
When managers and pitching coaches talk about a pitcher who needs to work on command issues in the big leagues, the translation is almost always the same. They mean he has to work on it ... in the minor leagues.
Beavan has struggled after a fine spring training, and a dozen starts without finding consistency is likely to mean his starting job is in immediate jeopardy.
Defense, however, might have saved Beavan in that second inning. Offense surely would have helped.
When he didn’t get enough of either, it was a short day for Beavan and a long one for a good-sized crowd at Safeco Field.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue